Re: Volunteers and paid staff

From: Liam Helmer <lists_at_strongboxlinux_dot_com>
Date: Thu May 27 2004 - 11:42:14 CDT

On Thu, 2004-05-27 at 08:25, David Mertz wrote:
> On May 26, 2004, at 4:51 PM, Arthur Keller wrote:
> > From a project management perspective, I can't promise to accomplish
> > something in a given time frame if I am relying on volunteers. I
> > must rely on paid staff (including students) who report to me. The
> > fact that the original schedule for EVM2003 was to give a demo in
> > October, or at least in 2003, and the demo did not occur until April
> > 2004, suggests that my risk management is prudent. I hope that
> > clarifies things.
> I guess everyone has their own experiences... but I've never worked on
> a commercial or academic project that was ONLY six month late. Nothing
> ever works, and paying people doesn't seem to change this fact, in my
> judgment. We'll see... I have more confidence in informally organized,
> self-selected volunteers worldwide creating good software than I do of
> Arthur's students doing so on TA stipends. And I also think that
> methodologies kill projects.

It's not a matter of paying people or not... it's a matter of those
people having enough time that they're able to spend on the project! And
paying people can certinaly help them put other matters aside. However,
in my experience, it doesn't always guarantee them putting other matters
aside, especially if it's not theier primary job.

The bottom line is that unrealistic goals in software projects won't be
met. Most software projects have unrealistic goals, because building
good software is still a very fiddly and time-consuming process. Many
programmers think only about the time to write the code... when the
debugging, QA, and actual implementation of it in a real conext is what
takes the most work.

Also, unless TA stipends are larger in the US than Canada I'd have to
say that it's dubious whether that qualifies as being paid :)

BTW, speaking of getting work done: has anyone tried the ISO I posted to
the dev list? I see a few downloads of it, and I was looking for
feedback before I continued work on it.

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Received on Mon May 31 23:18:08 2004

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